Missing baby's mom a suspect

The London Free Press

October 30, 2007 

St. Thomas police say they suspect foul play in the disappearance of missing infant Abbygail Dice and yesterday named her mother a suspect.

The development comes more than five weeks after the month-old baby's mother, Sara Whittington, was found alone and disoriented inside her locked Confederation Drive apartment on Sept. 20.

Abbygail was nowhere to be found.

"(Whittington) is now a suspect and she is the only suspect," Const. Anders Nielsen said yesterday.

The change in Whittington's status from "person of interest" to "suspect" follows an interview with police for several hours Friday at London police headquarters with her lawyer, Bill Glover, present.

"We are extremely disappointed that, in the face of Sara's co-operation, the police have upgraded without notice to Sara, her status in this investigation," Glover said in a statement.

"Sara has consistently told the police that she does not know what happened to Abby or what her involvement might be.

"To the extent allowed by Sara's medical and emotional state, she has always co-operated with the police, she has spoken extensively to the media, she has walked with the community and at her own expense she has hired us as investigators to assist and co-operate with the police in the search for Abbygail."

Nielsen said there aren't any restrictions on Whittington's travels.

"We don't have the authority to enforce anything like that," Nielsen said. "She's free to go wherever she wants."

Police are again asking the public for help to determine Whittington's whereabouts between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Sept. 18.

"What really seems to be a concern (to investigators) is those three hours and her movements," Nielsen said. "We want to know what (Whittington) was doing during that time."

The last time mother and daughter were seen together was about 2:30 p.m. Sept. 18.

Nielsen said police have accounted for the hours up to 6 p.m.

On Oct. 4, police released video of Whittington shopping in a St. Thomas drugstore at 9 p.m. on Sept. 18. The baby was not with Whittington in the store.

Sources say Whittington purchased Tylenol, Nyquil and another medication.

Meanwhile, Abbygail's father, Chris Meadows, who police say is neither a person of interest nor a suspect, met the media for the first time yesterday at an impromptu news conference.

Nielsen said Meadows has been interviewed several times by investigators and "he's been 100- per-cent cleared."

Meadows kept out of the public eye, did not help with searches and declined comment to the media at the request of investigators, Nielsen said.

Whittington was interviewed for 7 1/2 hours Friday at London police headquarters, said Nielsen, because the city force has "more investigative resources" without being specific.

For instance, the St. Thomas force doesn't have a polygraph machine.

No one would confirm whether Whittington was tested on Friday.

Glover has said the mother was suffering from ketoacidosis, a complication related to diabetes that may have affected her memory.

After she was found in her apartment, Whittington spent five days in intensive care in hospital, then moved into her parents' southwest London home.

In an Oct. 12 interview, Whittington said she has no memory of Tuesday, Sept. 18 through Thursday, Sept. 20 when she was found.

Glover has suggested someone else could have entered the apartment while Whittington was in medical distress.

Glover said there were three keys to the apartment held by Whittington, Abbygail's father and the superintendent of the three-storey walk-up apartment building. As well, the balcony door was open.

Searches immediately after Whittington was found and the weeks that followed have failed to turn up any trace of the infant.